Tag Archives: editing

A week in the life of a journal manager and magazine editor

Nik Prowse project manages medical journals and edits a magazine on ecology. In this post he describes how he got into this work, what it involves, and what he most enjoys about it.

My first job in publishing was for a learned society, and its main publications were journals. In my interview, the editorial director described journal publishing as ‘a sausage machine’, a phrase which is true in one respect, but it doesn’t do justice to the pleasure of putting an issue together. I was trained as a copyeditor and proofreader, working on two journals, but as I worked only on individual articles the sausage machine aspects of the production process didn’t concern me.

Eventually, I was allowed to work on some of the few books that the society published too, which I enjoyed. When I went freelance, I did a bit of journal copyediting but focused on academic textbooks. After a few years, I also started project managing the same type of material: ­­large textbooks aimed at students and researchers in fields such as ecology, life science and medicine. I enjoyed the project management work (and it paid better), and one of its most enjoyable aspects was seeing a project through from manuscript submission to final printing. That, and building solid working relationships with authors and editors along the way, were good reasons to find the work rewarding. I never thought that I would manage a journal until I was offered the chance to do so, and the opportunity for a new challenge gave me the motivation to try it out.

Wind forward seven years …

My work as a journal manager

I now manage a suite of four medical journals for one publisher. I started out just working on one, an orthopaedics journal. At first I found the work akin to driving too fast along a winding road in the dark: scary and hair-raising. The need to juggle issues going to press, manuscripts being submitted for upcoming issues and planning for issues further down the line, as well as frequent emails about other matters from authors, editors and the typesetter led to a frenetic pace of work that was, occasionally, almost overwhelming. But after a while I began to get the hang of it, developing systems to help me stay on track and generally getting into the swing of things. I felt much calmer as the months progressed.

That first journal publishes six issues a year, and now I also work on three others, all of which publish twelve issues a year. And it all runs calmly and smoothly … most of the time! All of the journals are commission-only, meaning that we approach potential authors based on what topics we need to cover.

Working as a journal manager is mainly an administration job but I find it rewarding, not for that aspect but because it allows me to build long-term relationships with editors who are experts in their field. I also get to interact with the huge number of authors we commission who are also at the peak of what they do. Their willingness to share their expertise for virtually no return, passing on their medical knowledge and teaching the next generation of doctors for the benefit of patients, is motivating and inspiring in itself. They do this despite the pressures of clinical work in the NHS and the increasing pressure that consultants, junior doctors and other healthcare staff are under, and it gives me huge respect for all medical professionals.

a medical journal is open on a desk with a stethoscope to one side

Organisation is the key

The main tool of the job for me is a series of Excel spreadsheets that allows me to see at a glance the situation for any particular month’s issue. Keeping an eye on these spreadsheets on a regular basis is the key to the job, helping me stay on track.

At any one point, I have to think about issues being planned but not yet commissioned, articles commissioned that haven’t yet been submitted, articles in review, articles for the issue that is about to go to press and ones that have been typeset and which may need checking. Many authors who are due to submit articles need chasing, or their deadline renegotiating, because for virtually all of them writing an article for me is not their main concern 97% of the time. In my first few months on the first journal I managed to annoy a few authors by being overly officious, but I quickly learned that respect, diplomacy and courtesy are essential for receiving material on time.

Long deadlines: Good for all concerned

I set very long deadlines, which allows me to grant an extension almost whenever one is requested and has no effect on the publication schedule. This is key to the stress-free running of each journal. Sometimes an article is so late there is a danger it may not be published. However, by that point I’ve hopefully built up enough of a rapport with an author that they are understanding and can work to the final date that we have agreed.

So, in summary, the main tasks of working as a journal manager are:

  • creating, checking and working to schedules
  • emailing authors to thank them for accepting an invitation to write, and providing information on article format and the deadline
  • following up on late articles and negotiating their delivery
  • checking submissions and ensuring that nothing is missing
  • sending papers for review by the editorial board
  • compiling issues and preparing files for typesetting
  • checking proofs
  • and … in the long run, thinking about the commissioning of issues further down the line.

I enjoy this job for a number of reasons. The main one is the sense of satisfaction of getting an issue out on time that contains articles that will help young medical professionals improve people’s lives. They get valuable information from journals like the ones that I work on. It’s a fantastic feeling. And, as I’ve already mentioned, building long-term working relationships with experts is also very rewarding.

My work as a magazine editor

I’ve always enjoyed reading magazines, from Smash Hits as a teenager to Kerrang! when my musical interests changed to New Scientist when I was a student, and more recently cycling and photography magazines. However, with a background in science and traditional book publishing, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to be the editor of what you could call a magazine.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I saw a vacancy advertised by an organisation that represents ecologists in the UK and overseas for an editor for their membership magazine. I quickly realised that the requirements of the job were a combination of the various skills I had picked up in my 20 years in publishing. These included copyediting, proofreading, project management and, more latterly, understanding periodical workflow and the need to consider more than one issue at a time. Plus, ecology is one of my favourite fields of life science.

I get to choose the cover!

I’m responsible for the front half of the magazine, which consists of articles on a theme that is publicised beforehand. I check submitted articles and send them for review. For each quarterly issue, I chair a meeting involving the magazine’s editorial board, who are all experts in their field. Again, the job involves working with experts who are doing valuable work, this time in nature conservation and in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises that we face.

Many of the tasks of running a magazine, albeit an academic one featuring peer-reviewed articles, are similar to running a medical journal. Scheduling, keeping to deadlines, commissioning and manuscript preparation are all part of the job. One challenging new task is sending feedback to authors, advising them on how to revise their articles based on the editorial board’s comments. The main requirement is diplomacy, giving lots of encouragement as to how to make the article publishable.

But what I love about this new role is that I also play a small part in the way the magazine looks. Journals are very rigid affairs: there’s a front cover with a table of contents on it and there are articles inside, all typeset to a predetermined design. That’s it. However, on a magazine there is a design element to every issue, including arranging the front cover and the straplines that it will feature. Some of our authors provide some fantastic photographs to illustrate their articles, and I really enjoy looking at them and choosing one that will be suitable for the cover.

About Nik Prowse

Nik Prowse has been a copyeditor and proofreader since 1997, following a PhD in evolutionary biology. He went freelance in 2004 and since then has worked as a copyeditor, development editor and project manager of academic, professional and educational materials. Up until recently, he was a tutor for the Publishing Training Centre and the CIEP’s book reviews coordinator. In his spare time, he cycles long distances in search of cake.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: magazines by kconcha on Pixabay, medical journal by Abdulai Sayni on Unsplash, puffins by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

Posted by Sue McLoughlin, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Curriculum focus: Educational publishing

In this regular feature for The Edit, former training director Jane Moody highlights areas of the CIEP’s Curriculum for professional development related to educational publishing.

Editors who work in educational publishing use all the same tools as every other kind of editor, so it is difficult to pick out anything specific. Often, however, the areas of scheduling and process are important to editors working in this field. Clarity is also particularly important in writing for educational purposes, so let’s look at these few aspects of the curriculum.

Knowledge criteriaEditorial competency, professional skills and attitudes
2.1.2 Schedules and budgeting• Understands the importance of scheduling and budgeting within any publishing process
• Understands the influence of the schedule/budget on the scope of editing/proofreading
2.1.3 Editorial processes• Understands the meaning and significance of common editorial terminology
• Understands the roles and responsibilities of members of an editorial team
• Understands the stages of the editorial process
2.1.4 Production processes• Understands the roles and responsibilities of a production team
• Understands the meaning and use of common production terminology
• Understands the stages of the production process (eg prepress, print/electronic production)
2.3.3 Clarity in writing• Understands the need to avoid ambiguity
• Understands appropriate use of language and tone
• Understands conciseness (elimination of redundancy/repetition)
• If space is limited or layout is fixed, is aware of the need to fit any change into the available space without causing a new problem
• Can reword appropriately to simplify, clarify or shorten text
• Can identify whether material is well expressed and flows logically, with the ideas and wording easy to follow

Resources to support your learning and CPD

The CIEP course Editorial Project Management would be really useful to enhance your skills. You could also try the PTC course Introduction to Digital Project Management. For clarity in writing, try the CIEP courses Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation and Plain English for Editors. The CIEP guide Editing Textbooks would also be worth a read.

This book chapter would also be worth reading: Miha Kovač, Mojca K. Šebart. ‘Educational publishing: how it works: primary and secondary education publishing’ in: The Oxford Handbook of Publishing, edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar. OUP, 2019, pp274–288.

If you work with interactive exercises, the CIEP course Editing Digital Content could prove useful.

Read Anneke Schmidt’s blog post: ‘What makes a good elearning course? elearning best practices explained’ (Skill & Care, 13 March 2023). This post could also lead you down various other useful rabbit holes.

The Society of Young Publishers has published the video ‘Introduction to Education Publishing’, which you can find on YouTube. It’s a panel discussion and gives a good overview of the education sector of the publishing industry.

This is only a snapshot – almost every other topic in domains 1 and 2 of the Curriculum for professional development are relevant to editing for educational publishing!

About Jane Moody

Jane has worked with books for all her working life (which is rather more years than she cares to admit), having started life as a librarian. She started a freelance editing business while at home with her two children, which she maintained for 15 years before going back into full-time employment as head of publishing for a medical Royal College.

Now retired, she has resurrected her editorial business, but has less time for work these days as she spends much time with her four grandchildren and in her garden.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Pixabay on Pexels.

Posted by Sue McLoughlin, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Talking tech: Maths editing

In this month’s Talking tech column, Andy Coulson looks at tools to input, edit and format maths.

This month The Edit is looking at educational publishing, a field I work in, specialising in maths, science and technology. One of the biggest headaches I come up against is dealing with maths. Why is it so difficult? Well, maths has a lot of rules around presentation – what should be italic, how things are positioned, strange symbols, symbols nested inside symbols, precise alignment of symbols between lines, and so on. In short, standard Word is not able, or indeed designed, to cope with this.

Because these rules matter to people who deal in maths, and a lot of these people are in educational publishing, there are tools available. The three main tools are Word Math Builder (the built-in equation tools in Word); MathType (a Word add-in) and LaTeX (a typesetting language popular with academic paper writers). I will look briefly at all three before doing a more in-depth comparison of Word Math Builder and MathType to highlight the features of these two tools for working with maths in Word.

Your maths toolbox

Word Math Builder is the in-built editor in Word, accessible through the ‘Equation’ menu in the ‘Insert’ ribbon (or using Alt+=). It allows you to enter maths in several ways – as predefined equations; by building them from the menus; or by drawing them or entering them using text-based UnicodeMath or LaTeX code. It integrates well with Word but uses its own format – Office Math Markup Language (OMML). This can lead to issues when trying to export the maths content to other programmes, such as InDesign.

MathType is a Word add-in to handle maths and chemical equations. It is a subscription product, costing about £40 to £50 per year depending on the type of subscription, but with a 30-day free trial. The different subscriptions allow the tool to be used across a range of different programs, including PowerPoint, Google Workspace and some learning management systems. I used the Office 365 version, which seems to have fewer options than some of those shown in the tutorials. The explanation of the different versions is definitely an area the software developer, Wiris, could be much clearer about.

MathType offers a lot of the same features that Math Builder does, but presents them in a different way. Most of my clients use Math Builder, but I think I have a slight preference for the way MathType allows you to build things – it just feels slightly easier to lay things out.

Two potential advantages of MathType are that, first, it creates equations in MathML, which is an agreed standard for representing maths – although it is not yet well implemented. In theory you should be able to create an equation in MathML, include it on a webpage and a web browser should then display it correctly. The second is that it will also export the equations as EPS (Postscript) files, which current versions of InDesign appear to play nicely with.

Maths equation: MathType

LaTeX is a different proposition from the other two as it is essentially a typesetting language and you work in a LaTeX editor rather than in Word. It is far more like working with HTML for web pages than a Word document. It can accommodate a vast range of mathematical and scientific styles and is very popular in the field of academic papers. One of the most common tools is an online editor called Overleaf, which has a free version and a subscription version. If you only use LaTeX occasionally then the free version may well be adequate, with the subscription version giving access to collaboration tools. I’m not going to dig deep into LaTeX here, but you can find out more through the introduction on the Overleaf site.

Comparing the tools

Let’s take a look at Math Builder and MathType. Both of these will work within Word and work in a similar way – you select components of an equation, like a pair of brackets, and then fill in the terms inside them. I’ll take you through the two interfaces below and look at the obvious way of using them – clicking on symbols – before looking at some of the other options.

Math Builder presents options as a ribbon, accessed from ‘Equation’ in the ‘Insert’ ribbon:

Math Builder ribbon

It groups symbols, like Greek letters or operators (+, = etc), in blocks in the middle and has a number of groups covering a range of uses. On the right of the ribbon are some of the common structures you find in maths, such as fractions, as a series of drop-down menus.

Using this approach, it is fairly easy to create mathematical material within a document. Math Builder makes it easy to create inline material, where the maths runs as part of the text, and display material where it is presented as a separate paragraph. You can also type a simple sum into Word without spaces, select it and press Alt+=, and the text is converted to a correctly spaced maths expression.

One feature Math Builder offers that MathType does not is prebuilt expressions (although some versions of MathType allow you to save created equations for reuse). There are a number of common expressions, like the area of a circle or Pythagoras’s theorem, that can be selected from the Equation dropdown at the left end of the ribbon.

MathType works slightly differently from Math Builder. When you launch it, a separate window pops up. Like Math Builder it offers a series of building blocks, accessed through tabs, to build mathematical expressions as well as commonly used symbols. I think MathType seems to offer a larger range of symbols than Math Builder.

MathType

One really neat function in MathType is the red contextual tab. Here you get different options depending on what you are doing. For example, you can add carries and strikethroughs to digits in a subtraction calculation, which I’ve not found a way of doing in Math Builder.

MathType also offers simpler ways to change the formatting of text, so it is easier to remove italics so a measurement remains correctly spaced but is formatted as non-italic. It is also easy to change text colour, something that can be really useful in textbooks to highlight particular digits in a calculation.

As well as the menu-based way of building an equation, both tools offer other ways of entering material. Both have a drawing input, so if you have a touchscreen you can draw your equation. I’ve been really impressed by how good the recognition is on both of these, even when you draw with a mouse.

Math Builder allows you to type in maths using LaTeX code or Unicode Maths autocorrect codes. If you already use LaTeX I can imagine this could be quite a quick way of adding material. The Unicode approach is probably also quite fast, but clearly has a learning curve to be able to learn the codes.

Which should I use?

The short answer to this would be whichever your client asks you to. However, if you have the choice, it is more complex. Both tools have a great range of features that probably cover most needs. I think MathType has more options to build equations, but Math Builder’s text input tools to use LaTeX or Unicode may allow you to work around some of these. That is an area I need to experiment with. As I mentioned above, my clients generally prefer Maths Builder and one in particular has some wizardry that helps with the importing into InDesign. The finished proofs rarely exhibit some of the layout issues people have described when bringing this into InDesign. While I like MathType I generally use Math Builder as it meets my clients’ needs and so I am more familiar with it now.


Thanks to Martin Payne and Rich Cutler for their input on InDesign.

About Andy Coulson

Andy CoulsonAndy Coulson is a reformed engineer and primary teacher, and a Professional Member of the CIEP. He is a copyeditor and proofreader specialising in STEM subjects and odd formats like LaTeX.

 

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Thomas T, maths equations on blackboard by Artturi Jalli, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Belinda Hodder, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Music editing

What makes working on music-based manuscripts different from other subject areas? Four music editors give a flavour of this editorial speciality.

The CIEP Music forum and, shortly afterwards, the Music special interest group (SIG), led by Dawn Wakefield, were set up following the 2021 CIEP conference when it became clear that there are a lot of musicians among our members. The members of the SIG are all musical in some way, with many of us playing more than one instrument (including an unusual number of oboists!). Between us, we have experience in a broad range of musical genres, from classical to rock and gospel to folk.

We hold monthly Zoom meetings, sometimes with guest speakers, when we discuss music editing, specific editorial problems and ideas we’ve come across. One common discussion topic has been how to find clients and, just as importantly, how potential clients can find us. Google searches for music editors resulted in many links for music audio editors but nothing for those of us who edit text or sheet music. As a result, we have set up a new website, Find a Music Editor (FaME), to give us a more visible online presence.

Fiona Little: Music proofreading

I began proofreading sheet music after I had gained some experience of copyediting music books. I play several musical instruments and had edited some unpublished 18th-century music for a dissertation, so I felt reasonably confident about the work, but there was a lot to learn. Although music resembles text in that it is written and read in a linear way, from beginning to end, it also portrays sounds graphically, which is why a choir singer unfamiliar with the notation can trace their line in a score, following the ups and downs of the melody. Music notation has multiple dimensions: each note shows both pitch and duration and, as well as clefs and other symbols, there are markings for tempo (speed), dynamics (loud/soft), phrasing and so on. Finally, music normally incorporates some text, for example in the form of headings and directions, and, in vocal music, words that are sung to the notes. Good layout can help to make all these features clear.

Even with music typesetting software, errors can creep in. Although basic musical ‘grammar’ can be checked, a problem may have several possible solutions. For example, if a bar (a ‘measure’ in US English) contains five beats when the time signature specifies four, are there too many notes, is one of them too long or is the time signature wrong? Even simple errors are best queried, and you need to understand the musical style in order to work confidently.

For the proofreader or editor, addressing all these aspects is time-consuming. Whether I’m comparing with a previous version or reading ‘cold’, I work methodically in a series of passes, considering one aspect at a time: pitches on one pass, note durations and rhythms on another, and so on, hearing the music in my inner ear as I go. It all adds up to an experience that is very different from working on text.

Dawn Wakefield: Proofreading educational materials

One of the things I most enjoy about music proofreading is that it is not all sitting in front of a computer screen reading text; it can actually involve playing and listening to music.

I often work on educational piano books. First proofs of the sheet music portion of the book are usually worked through on paper as this is the quickest and most accurate way of marking music scores. Like Fiona, I take several passes to check the various elements of the notation, and then, in addition, I check or create piano fingering, shown with numbers (1 for thumb, 2 for index finger, etc). For this, I have to play through the pieces carefully and, in the process, often spot errors of pitch or rhythm, which may become clearer once heard.

The text sections of the book, as well as headings to the pieces themselves, often require knowledge of other languages. Instructions in the music are most commonly in Italian, but are often in French or German, according to the composer’s nationality. Historical background text also often contains foreign names and place names, so linguistic knowledge may be involved, for instance understanding masculine and feminine endings of Eastern European surnames or checking spelling that has been transcribed from Cyrillic.

Plenty of listening was required for a recent job proofreading online resources for an educational music course for teenagers. As well as checking that the YouTube links actually worked, I had to listen and check that the tracks were accurately described. I had a very enjoyable and nostalgic time listening to well-known pop hits from across the decades from the 1950s to the present! In one amusing incident, the music to a computer game was described as being by Grieg, yet, when I listened, I found a strange electronic version of The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss! The fact that music editing uses so many varied skills is one of its most rewarding aspects.

close-up of hands playing a piano from sheet music

Eleanor Bolton: Editing books

In many ways, books about music are similar to other books. The text has to be copyedited so that it conforms to the publisher’s style guide, often, of course, with variations depending on author preference and likely readership. However, some specialist knowledge is useful whatever genre of music you work on.

Maybe the text is discussing the finer points of Schubert’s cello quintet, but the extract shows two viola parts. If you know your clefs, and that a ‘cello quintet’ has two cellos, that’s an obvious inconsistency. But what else do we need to look for? Here are some other examples of something being awry:

  • The text contains a discussion of piano fingerings in a specific bar, but the excerpt in the music example doesn’t have any fingerings in that bar.
  • The caption specifies bars 80–92 but the excerpt is only eight bars long.
  • The caption says the piece is in ‘F# major’. Note the difference between the hash sign # and the musical sharp sign ♯.
  • The text refers to Bach’s opus 1001 but the caption says ‘BWV 1001’. (J. S. Bach’s music is, uniquely, catalogued by BWV number, not opus number.)

As with many things in life, you don’t know what you don’t know. A good editor knows when (and where!) to look things up.

Anna Williams: Music typesetting and the crossover with editing

The line between the roles of music editor and typesetter (or ‘engraver’, harking back to the etched metal plates used from the late 16th century to surprisingly recently) has blurred over recent years. While some publishers retain the distinction, I am receiving more requests for ‘full package’ or ‘on-screen editing’ jobs. Though sometimes driven by a client’s desire to save time and/or money, it also taps into the crossover of skills required for each task and is made easier by advances in music notation software.

As well as the musical ‘grammar’ that Fiona mentions, plus house style, consistency and clarity checks, part of a music editor’s job is to optimise the layout and presentation of information on the page. This includes practical considerations, such as instrumentalists needing time to turn pages, or a publisher needing to fit a collection into a certain page extent, but it’s also about spacing, information density and the need for music that can be read fluently at speed.

It often makes sense to consider these layout issues before detailed copyediting and to adjust (a copy of!) the computer file accordingly. Whether or not you will be typesetting, some initial layout work can result in a cleaner manuscript to work on, saving time. Trying out different notations in the file can sometimes also guide editorial decisions, so being familiar with the software can be very helpful. Similarly, editorial knowledge is useful when typesetting. Some music publishers place much of the house style responsibility on typesetters, and understanding editorial conventions means they can fix things an editor might have missed.

I hope and believe that there will continue to be dedicated editors and typesetters in the industry, but there is a place for a combined model of working, especially for the increasing number of self-publishing composers, who are often looking for someone with both the editorial knowledge and typesetting expertise to turn their work into a publication-standard product.


If you’re an editor of music-based material, please come and join us on the Music forum, where you will find details of our meetings and more. If you’d like to be added to the Directory on our website, the details can be found on the forum.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: sheet music close-up by César Vanc on Pexels; pianist playing sheet music by wal_172619 on Pixabay.

Posted by Sue McLoughlin, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Apply now to the Printing Charity’s Rising Star Awards

Each year, the Printing Charity holds the Rising Star Awards, for young people working in publishing, print, paper, packaging and graphic arts to invest in their career development. Applications to this year’s awards are welcome until 2 April 2023. One of 2022’s winners, Rosie Catcheside, shares her experience of applying for the award, and the career benefits that winning gave her.

I first heard about The Printing Charity’s Rising Star Awards from a colleague who had been selected as a Rising Star in a previous year. At the time, I had recently completed my English Literature MA and was working as an administrative assistant at a Newcastle-based creative-writing magazine. While I really enjoyed my role, I was eager to develop my skills further and to take on more responsibility. I also, ultimately, wanted to get into the publishing industry; I had always loved literature and was incredibly keen to work directly with authors and to help get books into the hands of readers. The Rising Star Awards offered a great opportunity to achieve these aims so, in 2022, I decided to apply.

With these development goals in mind, my funding requests included several online editing and proofreading courses run by the CIEP. These were a mixture of self-assessed and tutor-assessed courses, all of which included note sheets, tasks and tutor access. My courses included the copyediting and proofreading suites, as well as specific courses on editing fiction and editing digital content. Through these courses, I was able to build on the skills I had been learning on the job, while taking a more structured approach to my learning and familiarising myself with industry-approved methods. As well as developing my skills, I also wanted to broaden my industry knowledge, so I requested CIEP membership and BookMachine membership. These memberships helped me to connect with other professionals in the publishing community and to access invaluable information about industry news.

After submitting my application for the award, I was invited to an online interview with a member of The Printing Charity and two professionals working in my field. All three of my interviewers were supportive and friendly and it was hugely beneficial to discuss my career aspirations and training plans with professionals in my area. Both the application questions and the interview provided a valuable opportunity to think about my career ambitions and to consider any gaps in my knowledge. This helped me to ensure that the items I had requested were the best possible resources for my professional development. The Printing Charity made sure that the application process was clear and accessible throughout, and were always keen to help with any questions. The awards ceremony for the winners, hosted at the House of Lords, was also fantastic – it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate in London and it was great to meet the other award winners and judges in person!

Three women sitting together at t desk and co-working at their laptops

The Rising Star Awards really have been invaluable to me throughout the past year. The CIEP courses helped me to cultivate concrete editing and proofreading skills, allowed me to access professional tutors and enabled me to structure my learning in the best possible way. My editing and proofreading skills have developed further with every course I have completed and the BookMachine subscription has been a great resource for acquiring industry knowledge. Since winning the award last year, I have taken the next step in my career and am now working in publishing, as a publicity assistant at Faber. The award equipped me with the practical skills and publishing knowledge to break into the industry and really helped me to hit the ground running in my new role.

I would absolutely recommend the Rising Star Awards to anyone who is considering making an application this year. The process is smooth, the rewards are enormous and if you win, you will join a fantastic network of young professionals. If you are passionate about the print industry and want to develop your skills, do put in an application – it could make a huge difference to your career!


Visit The Printing Charity’s website to apply for the Rising Star Awards. The deadline for applications for 2023 is Sunday 2 April.

About Rosie Catcheside

Rosie was born in the North East but is currently living in London, where she works as a Publicity Assistant at Faber. She has an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and won a Rising Star Award from The Printing Charity in 2022.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: stars in the night sky by AdamsEyeCandy on Pixabay; three women co-working by CoWomen on Unsplash.

Posted by Sue McLoughlin, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

A finer point: Abbreviations

Used well, abbreviations add clarity, reducing clutter so readers can concentrate on the meaning of a text. In this article, Cathy Tingle looks at the basics of abbreviation.

An abbreviation, a shortening, can be a wonderful device that saves time, effort and space. If in the 1974 hit ‘Killer Queen’ Freddie Mercury had sung ‘Dynamite with a light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation beam’, it wouldn’t have got to number 2 in the UK pop charts. With that wording, it would struggle to reach even the end of the song in a timely fashion.

‘Laser’, the word actually used in the lyrics (thank goodness), is an acronym. But how is an acronym different from an initialism? And how does the punctuation of a contraction differ from that used with an abbreviation? (Hang on, isn’t every shortening an abbreviation?)

It’s important to understand the different types of abbreviation because it might be necessary to style them differently. In his CIEP guide to punctuation, Gerard M-F Hill usefully lists four types – the four I’ve listed below, although in a different order – under the umbrella of ‘short forms’. This is a useful term because it avoids confusing abbreviations in general with a specific type of word shortening that is also often called an abbreviation. However, Fowler’s, New Hart’s Rules and others use ‘abbreviation’ in both ways, so I’m doing the same.

Initialisms

Many people confuse acronyms with initialisms, and this might be because ‘acronym’ sounds impressively technical and is quite a fun word to say, so people feel like applying it more widely than they should. Acronym. Acronym. Nice. Anyway, what are referred to as acronyms are often initialisms: BBC, NHS, CPR, HMRC. Only the first letter of each (main) word is kept, and the result is pronounced as a series of letters.

The main style decision to make with an initialism is whether to include full points (CPR or C.P.R.?). Such points have lingered in some iterations of US style (page 236 of The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz is enlightening on this matter); British style goes mostly without. However, there are instances, such as a.m. and p.m., and e.g. and i.e., where points are used more widely, even in British style. If you are using points, remember two main things:

  • Include all of them. It’s fairly common in unedited text to see ‘e.g’ or ‘eg.’, for example.
  • If your initialism appears at the end of a sentence, don’t include a full stop as well, otherwise you have two points in a row. One is entirely sufficient.

Acronyms

An acronym is a narrower category. Simply, it’s an initialism that you can pronounce as a word: OPEC, UNESCO, NASA, RADA, Aids, radar. You’ll notice that in this list we have both ‘RADA’ (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and ‘radar’ (‘RAdio Detection And Ranging’), with their differences in capitalisation. You can tell that ‘radar’ was always meant to be a catchy acronym from its inclusion of the first two letters from the first word and ‘A’ for ‘and’ (which is not classed as a main word) in the line-up of initials. If it were a true initialism it would be ‘RDR’. In the evolution of an acronym, particularly if it’s a term rather than a name, after being all caps it can then progress to being treated as a regular proper noun with a leading cap (as with ‘Aids’). Certain acronyms, like ‘radar’, ‘laser’ and ‘scuba’, then make the final change into a common noun, fully lower case.

After an acronym has become a common noun, the spelled-out version sometimes falls away, particularly if the spelling out doesn’t tell us as much as, for example, the usual dictionary definition of the word. Cambridge Dictionaries defines ‘radar’ as ‘a system that uses radio waves to find the position of objects that cannot be seen’ which is more helpful than its original long name.

Abbreviations

I tend to imagine a snipping or chopping action with these, because you lose one end of the word, sometimes both. Some of them, like ‘co.’ for ‘company’ and ‘etc.’ for ‘etcetera’, generally attract a full point, as does ‘ed.’ for editor in many academic texts. Others, like ‘bio’ for ‘biological’ or ‘biography’, generally don’t include points in British modern styles. As familiarity with these shortened words grows – including those that mean more than one thing – the point becomes less necessary.

Examples of where the front of the word has been chopped are ‘bus’ for ‘autobus’ and ‘phone’ for ‘telephone’. In ‘flu’ for ‘influenza’, both ends have been chopped. Here, apostrophes originally indicated missing letters, but as with full points these have dropped away with time and use.

Contractions

In a contraction, the beginning and the end of the word or phrase are included. What’s missing is something in the middle. Informal words such as ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ are contractions, but they’re relatively straightforward. They use an apostrophe – for now, at least.

Other contractions are ‘Dr’ for ‘doctor’ and ‘St’ for ‘Saint’. In British styles these generally don’t attract a full point; they are more likely to in US styles. In words like ‘eds’ for ‘editors’ strictly a point shouldn’t appear, in British styles at least. However, New Hart’s Rules says that this can make things look inconsistent, particularly when constructions like ‘vol.’ and ‘vols’ (volume and volumes) are seen side by side, so some styles retain the point for these types of contraction.

One contraction that retains a point is usefully mentioned in New Hart’s Rules: ‘no. (= numero, Latin for number)’. A good reason for this point could be the risk of its confusion with the more common word ‘no’.

As an editorial professional you have to navigate all these types of abbreviation and their different conventions and styles, plus any exceptions and possibly the reasons for them, depending on the text you’re working on.

What else should you consider?

Bring in the reader

Now it’s time to consider your abbreviations from the point of view of the reader. Ask yourself:

How familiar will the reader be with this abbreviation? Those that have become part of the language, like ‘i.e.’, ‘e.g.’ and ‘etc.’, most adult readers will know. A British audience is likely to know NHS and BBC. Dictionaries are a good basic guide to which abbreviations are now in common usage and therefore may not need further explanation. But remember you should always cater for your least knowledgeable reader. As Einsohn and Schwartz say, ‘When in doubt, spell it out.’ The most usual way of doing this is to include the long version then the short one in brackets: ‘National Health Service (NHS)’. If there are a number of initialisms and acronyms that the reader is likely to be unfamiliar with, consider creating a list of abbreviations that they can easily refer to.

Do I need all of these abbreviations? If you’re using an uncommon abbreviation just once or twice, it’s probably better including the long version only. Also, remember that text littered with initialisms and acronyms very quickly loses the advantage that a few abbreviations bring: it becomes uninviting to look at and difficult to read. This is the advice the Economist Style Guide gives:

After the first mention, try not to repeat the abbreviation too often; so write the agency rather than the IAEA, the party rather than the KMT, to avoid spattering the page with capital letters. And prefer chief executive, boss or manager to CEO.

Is the abbreviation near to where it plays its main role in the text? It’s not worth abbreviating a term the first time it’s used if there isn’t another mention of that abbreviation for pages and pages. Wait until you get to its first real entrance, where it’s discussed at more length or in more detail, and introduce its shortened version there.

At the sharp end of language

Abbreviations are an element of language that can change quickly, so you should keep up to date with the latest stylistic conventions for each shortened word or term you’re editing. However, in the end there are only a limited number of options for an abbreviation, all of them seen and written about already. Your task is to work out which option is applicable and appropriate. Here are some useful resources to equip you for the challenge.

Economist Style Guide. 2018. 12th edition. Profile Books.

Einsohn, A. and Schwartz, M. 2019. The Copyeditor’s Handbook. 4th edition. University of California Press, chapter 9.

Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, ed. J. Butterfield. 2015. Oxford University Press. See entries for abbreviations, acronym, contractions, full stops (2).

Hill, G. M-F. 2021. Punctuation: A guide for editors and proofreaders. CIEP, pp9–10.

McCulloch, G. 2019. Because Internet. Riverhead Books.

New Hart’s Rules. 2014. Oxford University Press, chapter 10.

About Cathy Tingle

Cathy Tingle, an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP, is a copyeditor, proofreader, tutor and CIEP information team member.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Tim Chow on Unsplash, radar by Igor Mashkov on Pexels.

Posted by Belinda Hodder, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Resources round-up: The publishing process

Welcome to this round-up of resources compiled by the CIEP. This time, we look at how books are made. We have divided our picks into:

  • Free resources from the CIEP
  • Books
  • Glossaries
  • Articles

Resources round-up: The publishing process

Free resources from the CIEP

Forgive us for leading with our own resources, but some of the free fact sheets on the CIEP’s practice notes web page provide a useful overview before we delve into the details of how books are made. ‘Anatomy of a book’, which describes the different parts of a book, is a good place to start. After that, you might want to explore the book-making process with ‘The publishing workflow’, supplementing that with the ‘Good editorial relationships’ infographic. Finally, ‘Proofreading or copyediting?’ covers which type of editing happens at different points in the creation of a book.

Books

These books aren’t free, but you can read free reviews of some of them by members of the CIEP, which might help you decide which are worth investing in.

Books about the publishing process

Two major editing and proofreading books – Butcher’s Copy-Editing (4th edn, Cambridge University Press, 2012) and New Hart’s Rules (2nd edn, Oxford University Press, 2014) – contain overviews of the publishing process. You might already have these volumes, so see what gems you can find within.

Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark and Angus Phillips (6th edn, Routledge, 2019) covers the processes of traditional publishing in more detail. And to really dive into the subject, reach for the Oxford Handbook of Publishing, edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar (OUP, 2019). Since this was reviewed by a CIEP member, a cheaper paperback version has been published.

If you’re coming to book production from a self-publishing point of view, the Writers’ & Artists’ Guide to Self-Publishing (Bloomsbury, 2020) could be helpful. Read the CIEP review for more.

The parts and people that make up the books

From a book’s blurb to its index, the different parts of a book have been explored in recent publications that are as entertaining as they are fascinating. For more recent bookish books, read our end-of-2022 round-up blog.

To add to these, get a copyeditor’s experience in The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller (Chicago University Press, 2016), and hear from a lexicographer about how dictionaries are made in Word by Word by Kory Stamper (Pantheon, 2017).

Woman in a bookshop reading a book

Glossaries

Introducing ‘Publishing terminology explained’, Penguin Random House says: ‘Publishing shouldn’t be a mystery and that’s why we’ve pulled together an A–Z list of terms that we use in our business to help you navigate conversations and become familiar with how a publishing team operates.’ The CIEP has also written a free glossary of editorial terms.

Articles

Articles by and for the self-publishing industry excel in discussing how books are made. Recent examples include: ‘Why prologues get a bad rap’ by Tiffany Yates Martin on Jane Friedman’s website and ‘When should you have a table of contents and an index in your book?’, a TwitterChat run by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). You can rely on ALLi to really drill down to the intricate details that self-publishing authors might not realise they need to think about before the process starts.

However, one element that most authors will consider is the cover of their book. Cover designer Jessica Bell wrote articles recently on different aspects of this. For Jane Friedman, she discussed ‘The key elements of eye-catching book cover design’, and for ALLi she wrote about ‘Indie author book cover design: what works in 2022’. From ALLi you can also discover what really doesn’t work, in the TwitterChat ‘How a bad cover can ruin book sales’.

Last but never least is indexing. Indexer Geraldine Begley took to the AFEPI Ireland blog with ‘Indexing: An introduction for the curious’ which answers every question about indexing you can think of, including ‘Can’t a computer do that?’ (‘No’), and ‘Do I have to read the whole book?’ (‘Yes and no’). For anyone considering entering this interesting profession, or simply interested in what indexers actually do, this is indeed a great introduction for the curious.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: laptop and notebook by Maya Maceka on Unsplash, bookshop by Alican Helik on Pexels.

Posted by Belinda Hodder, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Editors don’t just spot typos: Breaking down the editing stereotypes

Are editorial professionals just hard-hearted pedants? Of course not! Julia Sandford-Cooke looks into four common misconceptions about editors.

Image of a cascade of books, with the title of the blog post and author headshot on top

When a content creator asks ‘Why do I need an editor?’, it can be hard to know how to respond. We’re so good at quietly enhancing the clarity of texts that our role is often overlooked altogether. The CIEP, of course, is doing a fine job of raising our profile, but editors also have a responsibility to demolish the common stereotypes about our work that make many writers reluctant to hire editors.

Stereotype 1: Editors just spot typos

Even a little research reveals that this is not true. Scan the list of courses offered by the CIEP. Flick through the 12-page CIEP syllabus for the basic editorial test. The word ‘typo’ does not appear but the phrases ‘professional practice’ and ‘editorial knowledge and judgement’ do. The CIEP’s members are described on its homepage as ‘the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose’. That is a broad description. Clearly, there is far more to being an editorial professional than just ‘correcting mistakes’.

Stereotype 2: Editors are the grammar police

Editors and proofreaders may suggest many types of amendments, and some of these suggestions may involve correcting grammar. Good editors and proofreaders will do so respectfully and sensitively. We don’t make judgements about the writer’s education or background. We don’t set out to destroy the writer’s self-confidence or impose our own style of writing on theirs. We won’t force the writer to make the changes we’ve marked up. They are just suggestions that we believe, in our professional capacity, will make the text more effective in achieving its purpose. The writer isn’t obliged to accept them (unless they have been commissioned to write to a specific brief).

We appreciate that seeing a screen of red Track Changes can be intimidating. We know that it can be dispiriting to be told that that long-incubated text is not quite ready for publication. But we are on the writer’s side. It should be more a partnership than a hierarchical relationship, in which we respect the writer’s vision and the writer respects our expertise.

A typewriter with the word 'grammar' typewritten on the inserted paper

Stereotype 3: Editors are too expensive

‘Expensive’ is a relative term. A good edit or proofread is an investment but budgets are often tight. Several hundred (or thousand) pounds is a lot of money to find, even for established publishers – in some cases, the rates they offer editors and proofreaders have actually reduced over the years.

A self-published author once told me that they’d had the budget to commission either an editor or a cover designer and had opted for the cover designer, believing that marketing was more of a priority. After all, when a book catches your eye, you’re likely to buy it before you read it. But reviews on sites such as Goodreads and Amazon, and old-fashioned word-of-mouth recommendations, also generate sales. When a reading experience is spoilt by inconsistencies, errors and impenetrable prose, those positive reviews and therefore those additional sales will not materialise.

If a client baulks at my fees, that’s their prerogative, just as it’s my prerogative to turn down a job that doesn’t meet my minimum hourly rate. Editorial professionals are running a business and need to pay the bills. And my quote for ‘doing the work’ includes not only the time taken to do the work itself but also 25 years of editing experience, both in-house at publishers and as a freelancer. Factors other than long service may also be significant. For example, those who became editors after a successful career in another field may apply the knowledge from their previous roles and qualifications to provide a specialist service, such as for legal or medical texts. Clients are paying for that knowledge, just as they would for the services of a plumber or solicitor.

Stereotype 4: Editors have been replaced by AI anyway

Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be everywhere these days. Can computers do what editors do? Well, some editorial tasks can be performed by software. Microsoft Word has an ‘Editor’ function that suggests ‘refinements’ to aid such aspects as ‘clarity’, ‘conciseness’ and ‘inclusiveness’. The popular app Grammarly promises ‘bold, clear, mistake-free writing’. And editors themselves use a variety of tools to help them work efficiently and accurately. Few of us would contemplate copyediting without running the trusty PerfectIt or our favourite macros.

But extracting meaning from text requires not only an in-depth knowledge of the ‘rules’ of language and punctuation but also an ability to put ourselves in the heads of readers to identify what could be clearer, what could be missing, or what could be cut. We’re not merely correcting grammar and typos – we are interacting with the text, raising queries where we believe it could be made more effective. Our checks may involve formatting and presentation – for example, checking that a page layout is balanced – or they may be to do with the content and the way the argument is expressed. None of these aspects have yet, to my knowledge, been fully grasped by a computer.

Again, our personal experiences bring a very human dimension to the act of editing. Our thought processes have quirks and tangents that are difficult to program. We look at the big picture, as well as the details, and there are subtleties in language and meaning that cannot quite be quantified by a machine. We use editorial judgement to get that balance right.

In any case, as a writer, I’d much prefer to engage with a real person with real opinions. Real people will be the readers of my published work, after all.

But don’t just take my word for it. Download this focus paper, ‘Imagine … an editor’, by the CIEP’s honorary president, David Crystal, to read his inimitable take on the importance of editorial professionals. His argument is far more eloquent than mine. Perhaps I need an editor!

About Julia Sandford-Cooke

Julia Sandford-CookeAdvanced Professional Member and CIEP Information Team member Julia Sandford-Cooke of WordFire Communications has clocked up nearly 25 years in publishing. When not editing textbooks, she posts short, grumpy book reviews on her blog, Ju’s Reviews, and would like to get on with writing her novel if only work didn’t keep getting in the way.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Pixabay, typewriter by Suzy Hazelwood, both on Pexels.

Posted by Sue McLoughlin, blog assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Developmental fiction editing Q&A part 3: Process

To celebrate the launch of our new guide, Developmental Editing for Fiction, we are publishing a series of three blog posts in which Sophie Playle – author of the guide – answers CIEP members’ burning questions about this service.

To learn more, download the guide and consider taking one of Sophie’s online courses about developmental fiction editing.

I’m interested in how you communicate the developmental edit. Is it primarily through an editorial letter? A combination of a letter and comments in the margins of the manuscript? Do you meet with the author on Zoom, talk on the phone? How often?

Absolutely no to Zoom! My poor little introverted soul couldn’t take that kind of spotlight – though video or phone sessions definitely work for some editors.

The way I deliver my feedback will depend on the scope of the service I’ve defined and the needs of the manuscript. For example, for some general feedback, I’ll write an editorial report that doesn’t go beyond a certain number of pages; there will be no notes in the manuscript.

But for a full developmental edit, I’ll provide a longer editorial report, and I’ll leave notes in the manuscript. How extensive these are will depend on what’s needed. I might make some direct changes to the text, I might not. I might extensively highlight the manuscript, I might not.

Do you use book maps or other visual aids?

I might, I might not! (See above.)

Book maps take time to create. If I think the plot is going to need some extensive work, I’ll suggest that I make a book map as part of my developmental edit. Sometimes, I’ll get the author to make one for me (this saves me time and saves the author money) and I’ll use that to help form my analysis.

I’ve made a basic narrative-arc graph that I often insert into my editorial reports when explaining the three-act structure. Sometimes I’ll use tables or graphs if they help me present information more clearly. It’s something I want to make more use of, actually, so I’m always on the look-out for ideas in this area!

I love to know about workflows and the practical side. How do you do the processing of reading, analysing, assessing and suggesting? Do you use a step-by-step process? How much back-and-forth is there with the author?

There’s no one right way to conduct a developmental edit, but this is my general approach:

  1. Read the manuscript straight through, quickly, without taking notes.
  2. Let thoughts percolate for a day or two.
  3. Jot down my main impressions for what needs to be addressed.
  4. Plug these notes into my editorial report template.
  5. The next step will depend on the scope of the specific service.
    • For a critique, I’ll flesh out those notes, scanning the manuscript to refresh my memory, if needed.
    • For a full developmental edit, I’ll work through the manuscript page-by-page, making the notes in the manuscript and my editorial report inform one another.

I’ll only get in touch with the author during the edit if I need them to clarify something relevant to the feedback I’m crafting. I won’t send them the manuscript to work on while I’m also working on it.

Developmental fiction editing

How many times do you read each manuscript, and what sort of notes do you make for yourself on each pass?

Usually once for a critique, twice for a full developmental edit (leaving notes and making edits during the second read-through).

I try not to make any notes on the first read-through as I want to experience the story more like a reader on this pass. I might highlight text I think could be useful to my analysis, and I might leave a few scant notes if I notice emerging recurring problems, but I won’t go into any detail or think about ways to fix the issues yet.

After you return your feedback to the client, is that the end of the process or do you then review any changes they make in light of your comments?

I let authors know that they can ask me for any clarifications if there’s something in my feedback they don’t understand. I ask them to batch their questions and let them know that I won’t spend more than another hour addressing them.

I don’t go back over the manuscript to check the revisions unless we’ve already agreed that this will be part of the service. This takes time, and needs to be considered in the fee and my schedule.

How do you balance how much you suggest and how much responsibility the author needs to take for fixing their own book under your guidance?

I won’t make substantial changes to an author’s book – that’s completely their responsibility, since it’s their book. I can only provide guidance and suggestions. How general or specific that is will depend on the scope of the service we’ve agreed upon.

How do you edit books in which authors have written to a formula, such as the frameworks in books like Save the Cat! Writes A Novel or Story Grid, especially if you’re not familiar with such frameworks or if the author is highly resistant to deviating from them?

If an author wants to use a framework you’re not familiar with, either don’t work on that book or take the time to learn about the framework.

If the author wants to use a framework, that’s up to them. You might be able to make the case for them to deviate from it, but if they decide they don’t agree with your justifications, that’s their right.

Authors often use frameworks as learning tools. They might not be ready to delve into more original or experimental story structures, and doing so might not help them achieve their writing or publishing goals so isn’t always necessary anyway.

As well as that, frameworks don’t produce cookie-cutter stories (if used well). Understanding archetypal story structure is hugely useful – for both authors and editors. Originality is found in the details, and the combination of new ideas – all of which can be hung beautifully upon frameworks.

About Sophie Playle

Sophie Playle is a professional fiction editor who also teaches online courses to other editors. Speculative and literary fiction are her favourite genres to edit, and she loves working with authors who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Sophie is an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: header image by EliFrancis on Pixabay, open books by Gülfer Ergin on Unsplash.

Posted by Belinda Hodder, Blog Assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Ten bookish books of 2022

2022 was a good year for books about, well, books: their history, what constitutes them – from their different sections to their individual paragraphs, sentences and words – and the places they can live. In this article we look at ten books, published or reissued this year, that people who are interested in books – professionally or for fun – will love. Some of them have already featured in the CIEP book reviews slot in The Edit, our newsletter for members, and on our website, and some are in the pipeline for review. We’ve listed them in order of release.

1. Comma Sense: Your guide to grammar victory by Ellen Feld (Mango, 18 February 2022), 288 pages, £16.95 (paperback)

‘Food and grammar have a lot in common!’ according to this book’s author. Based on US grammar, Comma Sense contains useful advice, brief but clear lessons, and fun quizzes – some cooking-based – for all writers and editors. Our reviewer said: ‘This encouraging book would refresh the grammar skills of a variety of time-strapped word wranglers, from creative writers, to businesspeople, to editors.’

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

2. How Words Get Good: The story of making a book by Rebecca Lee (Profile, 17 March 2022), 384 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

This book, in fact, is about the making of many books. The author is an editorial manager at Penguin Random House, so has overseen all the stages of book production, working with the people who are essential in each of them, from authors to indexers. There are plenty of entertaining behind-the-scenes stories, and you’ll come away wiser about exactly what goes into the creation of a book. Those who work in the industry are likely to feel acknowledged, their part in the process no longer a mystery.

Buy this book.

3. Portable Magic: A history of books and their readers by Emma Smith (Allen Lane, 28 April 2022), 352 pages, £20.00 (hardcover)

Emma Smith’s work, ‘a thing to cherish’, according to The Guardian, examines books as objects: scrolls, mass-marketed paperbacks, hiding places, decoration and even fuel for the fire. Smith tells the stories of the different types of books that have emerged at different points in history. People who cultivate giant piles of ‘to be read’ books rather than instantly transporting their chosen text to an e-reader will appreciate this appreciation of the physical, sniffable, page-turning hard copy.

Buy this book.

4. Rebel with a Clause: Tales and tips from a roving grammarian by Ellen Jovin (Chambers, 11 August 2022), 400 pages, £16.99 (hardcover)

To those who have followed her on Twitter, it feels like Ellen Jovin has been running her Grammar Table, where anyone can come and ask a question about language usage, for ever. In fact, it’s only four years. It’s been a packed schedule since that first appearance outside her Manhattan apartment, as Jovin has taken her table across the USA. This book tells some of the stories of the questions brought to the Grammar Table, and examines the grammar behind the answers. There are diagrams and ‘quizlets’ to support Jovin’s explanations. A must for any grammar lover.

Buy this book.

5. Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A–Z of literary persuasion by Louise Willder (Oneworld, 1 September 2022), 352 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

The author of this book has written 5,000 blurbs, so she knows what she’s talking about. In Blurb Your Enthusiasm she gives ‘the dazzling, staggering, astonishing, unputdownable story of the book blurb’, and asks why publishers always describe books using those sorts of terms. Quirky, fun and illuminating, this is a treat for anyone who is interested in books or the art of copywriting.

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

6. A History of Cookbooks: From kitchen to page over seven centuries by Henry Notaker (University of California Press, 6 September 2022), 400 pages, £22.36 (paperback)

This broad and detailed history of the Western cookbook was first published in 2017 but has now been released in paperback. This is a fascinating read for all lovers of cooking and books, covering the evolution of recipe formats from bare notes to the detailed structure we see today as well as what we might call the ingredients of the books themselves – their writing, designing and printing.

Buy this book.

7. The Library: A fragile history by Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree (Profile, 29 September 2022), 528 pages, £10.99 (paperback)

This history of libraries is entwined with the history of publishing and the development of society, so this book gives insights into all three. It has taken some centuries for libraries to hit their stride, in terms of access and stock, and reading about this might prompt a fresh appreciation of your local library branch. According to its CIEP reviewer, ‘this book is both informative and easy to read, and goes to all sorts of unexpected places. Come to think of it, that is much like a decent library, isn’t it?’

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

8. Reading the World: How I read a book from every country by Ann Morgan (Vintage, 29 September 2022), 416 pages, £9.99 (paperback)

Inspired by all the countries arriving at the London 2012 Olympics, Ann Morgan decided she would read a book from every independent nation. That’s 196 plus one – you’ll have to read the book to discover the story behind the extra one. Morgan’s literary journey is full of unexpected difficulties and wonderful finds, and this book is bound to inspire you to broaden your own reading horizons. Reading the World was originally published in 2015, with the paperback version released in 2022, so there are now years’ worth of stories about the project itself. You can find these on Ann Morgan’s website.

Buy this book.

9. Index, A History of the: A bookish adventure by Dennis Duncan (Penguin, 2 October 2022), 352 pages, £10.99 (paperback)

This is a ‘mesmerising’, ‘fascinating’ and ‘often humorous’ book, according to the delighted CIEP reviewer of Index, A History of the, who says: ‘This book should be on the reading list of every one of the (few) library schools that are left, and in the break room of every publishing house too. In fact, it should be in the home or office of anyone who has ever used an index.’ And the treasures don’t end with the body text. The index for the book – ‘excellent … beautiful as it is useful’ – was created by CIEP Advanced Professional Member Paula Clarke Bain, who in 2020 wrote a CIEP blog article on her typical week.

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

10. Why Is This a Question? Everything about the origins and oddities of language you never thought to ask by Paul Anthony Jones (Elliot & Thompson, 13 October 2022), 320 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

Finally, dive into the nuts and bolts of letters, words and writing systems, grammar and language, and how we communicate and understand each other’s communication, with this entertaining book. Guaranteed to ask questions you’d never thought to articulate, Why Is This a Question? provides gems on every page. Quick, fun facts throughout for friends and family, or for enthralling your own word-loving brain.

Buy this book.


By the CIEP information team. Compiled with the help of Nik Prowse, CIEP book reviews coordinator. Read all our book reviews at: ciep.uk/resources/book-reviews/. With special thanks to our amazing web team, who post reviews with swiftness, good humour and unfailing attention to detail.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

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Photo credits: header image by Taylor on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Powers, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.